NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 –Transparency International-Kenya (TI-Kenya) says the current reforms in the criminal justice sector should be institutionalized to ensure the progress made so far doesn’t get eroded when the terms of current holders of the respective offices lapse.
TI-Kenya Executive Director Samuel Kimeu on Wednesday said while major strides have been made by the multi-agencies tasked with ensuring public resources are not looted, there is a need for the reforms to be anchored on law, to ensure there is consistency.
Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji have been the leading voices in the renewed commitment to save taxpayers money from plunder.
Kinoti and Haji have been credited for effecting high-profile arrests, but questions abound on whether cases against those charged will result into recovery of monies looted from the public.
“I want to see these things institutionalized and becoming a way of life. And if they do and they give us success, then they can be sustained for the future,” he told Capital FM News on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting held under the auspices of Kenya Leadership and Integrity Forum.
A five-year Kenya Integrity Plan to replace the current 2015-2019 blueprint was set to be formulated during the forum.
Notable arrests include that of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, suspended National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and several principal secretaries who faced various graft related charges.
A multi-agency approach entailing DPP, DCI and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has been given credit to some of the gains, much of the success has been attributed to political goodwill and the efforts by DCI Kinoti and DPP Haji.
While the arrests have sent shivers among top government officials, Kimeu said more needs to be done to ensure looted assets are recovered and those involved brought to book.
“I think we are headed in the right direction because the journey towards accountability starts with arrests,” he said, but noted that, “arrests are however too little to gauge success, but it has to start from there.”
“There must be arrests, prosecutions, convictions…what is happening now, already has a deterrence value. It is beginning to shift the norm that you can steal and get away with it. In the coming future, I don’t think it will be possible for people to steal and get away with it.”
If the drive is sustained, he said those engaging in graft have their days numbered.
The Wednesday meeting was attended by EACC Twalib Mbarak among other stakeholders in the justice sector.
Mbarak said there is no community that is being targeted in the renewed graft purge saying the focus is on those accused of looting public resources.
He said the accusations will not derail their efforts to get rid of the menace which has seen billions of taxpayers’ money embezzled.
A section of elected leaders from the Rift Valley region, for instance, have faulted recent arrests and prosecutions of suspended National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and Kerio Valley Development Authority Managing Director David Kimosop.
“There is nothing like our people’s syndrome. Kenyans are now realizing that corruption does not have a community face, does not have community representation and that it is purely a criminal aspect and all those who are involved are treated as criminals,” Mbarak asserted.
He warned those facing corruption cases saying: “there will be nothing like community protection.”
The meeting attended by stakeholders drawn from the civil society and private sector comes at a time when high-profile individuals have been arraigned in court on graft charges.
A case in point is embattled Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu who is facing a Sh588 million scandal.
Waititu has been barred from accessing his office at county headquarters until his case is heard and determined.
Waititu, who was charged alongside his wife Susan Wangari was freed on Sh15 million cash bail.
Wangari was released on a Sh4 million cash bail.
Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine, who is facing a corruption case, suffered the same fate.